International relations and protocol

The Office of International Relations and Protocol (OIRP) is the Ontario government’s point of contact for about 100 foreign governments in Ontario.

The Office of International Relations and Protocol also provides protocol advice, tools and services.

Addressing the Premier or Cabinet Ministers        

“The Honourable” is used when addressing the Premier and/or a Cabinet Minister. The title can be shortened to The Hon., e.g., The Hon. Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario.

Salutations should read:

Dear Premier or Dear Premier Wynne

Dear Minister or Dear Minister Bradley

The Premier and/or Cabinet Minister does not keep the title of “The Honourable” after leaving office.

A Premier will only retain the title of “The Honourable” for life if they are made a member of the Queen’s Privy Council by the federal government.

Ontario Order of Precedence

The Order of Precedence determines speaking order and where officials are seated for Government of Ontario events and activities.

  1. Lieutenant Governor of Ontario or the Administrator
  2. The Premier of Ontario
  3. The Chief Justice of Ontario
  4. Former Lieutenant Governors of Ontario, with relative precedence among them governed by the date of their leaving office
  5. Former Premiers of Ontario, with relative precedence among them governed by the dates of their first assumption of office
  6. The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario
  7. Heads of accredited Diplomatic Missions in Ottawa with relative precedence to be determined by the date they present their credentials to the Governor General of Canada
  8. Members of the Executive Council of Ontario, in accordance with the precedence document issued by the Cabinet Office
  9. The Leader of the Opposition
  10. Members of the Privy Council for Canada resident in Ontario (See Note 2 below)
  11. The Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice
  12. The Associate Chief Justice of Ontario
  13. The Associate Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice
  14. The Chief Justice and the Associate Chief Justices of the Ontario Court of Justice (See Note 3 below)
  15. Judges of the Ontario Court of Appeal (See Note 3 below)
  16. Judges of the Superior Court of Justice (See Note 3 below)
  17. Members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario with precedence governed by the date of their first election to the Legislature
  18. (a) Members of the Senate who represent Ontario with relative precedence among them determined by the date of appointment
    (b) Members of the House of Commons who represent Ontario constituencies with relative precedence among them determined by the date of election, and alphabetically for those elected at the same election
  19. Heads of religious denominations
  20. Heads of Consular Post with jurisdiction in the Province of Ontario with precedence governed by date of exequatur
  21. Judges of the Ontario Court of Justice
  22. (a) The Chair of the host Regional Municipality (where applicable)
    (b) The host Mayor
  23. (a) Other Chairs of Regional Municipalities (where applicable)
    (b) Other Mayors with relative precedence governed by the date of appointment or election to office
    (c) Aboriginal leaders: Chiefs of the Treaty First Nations in Ontario
  24. (a) Deputy Ministers, with precedence governed by date of appointment
    (b) Other Ontario Public Service Officials with the rank and status of Deputy Ministers, with precedence governed by date of appointment

Notes

  1. At provincial events where federal, foreign or diplomatic dignitaries are present, circumstances may dictate that provisions of the Table of Precedence of Canada or international rules of protocol be observed thus giving these dignitaries precedence over certain provincial categories. Similarly, circumstances may also dictate that precedence courtesy be given to host officials of lesser rank over other senior dignitaries present (e.g., municipal functions).
    In the cases when the date of appointment or election to office is the same, precedence within each category is determined in the alphabetical order.
  2. Precedence among Members of the Privy Council for Canada resident in Ontario is given to:
    (a) Members of the Canadian Ministry (Cabinet Ministers and Secretaries of State)
    (b) Those who are not Members of the Canadian Ministry
    Precedence in each category is determined by the date of their appointment to the Privy Council.
  3. Precedence among members of the judicial system is determined by the date of their appointment.

For assistance in determining order of speakers, please contact us:

Office of International Relations and Protocol
830-1075 Bay St
Toronto ON  M5S 2B1
Telephone: 416-325-8535
Fax: 416-325-8550

Flag Protocol

Flag protocol determines the positioning of flags at provincial events or ceremonies.

Positioning of Two Flags

If you stand facing the flags, Canada's flag is on the left and the other, whether it is a national or sub-national flag, is on the right, as follows:     

Canada           Other

Positioning of Three Flags - with a Foreign Country

If you stand facing the flags, Canada's flag should be in the centre, the flag of the foreign country is to the left, and Ontario's flag is to the right, as follows:                       

Foreign Country      Canada            Ontario

Positioning of Three Flags – with a Municipality

If you stand facing the flags, Canada's flag is in the centre, Ontario's flag is to the left and the municipal flag is to the right as follows:     

Ontario       Canada       Municipality

Half-Masting

There is a standard practice for half-masting flags, established by the federal government and followed by all provinces. The practice is not mandatory for individuals or organizations, but is an adaptation of international usage and reflects a long-standing custom in Canada. Flags are normally flown at half-mast from the time of notification of death up to and including the day of the funeral.

Flags at all provincial government buildings will be flown at half-mast upon the death of:

  • the Sovereign
  • a member of the Royal Family related in the first degree to the Sovereign (husband, wife, son, daughter, father, mother, brother or sister)
  • the Governor General of Canada, a former Governor General
  • the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, a former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
  • the Premier of Ontario, a former Premier of Ontario
  • the Prime Minister, a former Prime Minister
  • any other person whom it is desired to honour
  • and on commemorative anniversary dates legislated by the Provincial Government

Flags at all Ontario Government buildings within ridings or community of residence will be flown at half-mast upon the death of:

  • a Privy Councillor, Senator or a Member of the House of Commons from the Province of Ontario
  • a Member and/or former Member of the Provincial Parliament of Ontario

Flags are not normally half-masted for foreign or Commonwealth heads of state or government, as these fall under federal jurisdiction; nor for federal Ministers, Senators or Members of Parliament who are not from Ontario.

Flags at individual ministry or regional facilities may be half-masted in cases of lives lost while at work, or other tragic events. Flags at the Legislative Assembly are flown at half-mast at the discretion of the Speaker, not the Government.

Flags may be half-masted from sunrise to sunset on the day of the funeral in the region of the funeral for soldiers killed in the line of duty, who were originally from Ontario or recently posted to Ontario.

Annual Half-Mast Days

Ontario annually half-masts flags from sunrise to sunset on:

April 28

National Day of Mourning for Persons Killed or Injured in the Workplace

June 23

National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism

The last Sunday in September

National Peace and Police Officers Memorial Day

Flags at all buildings under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset.

November 11

Remembrance Day

December 6

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Recent Half-Mastings

September 28, 2014
In observance of Police and Peace Officers' National Memorial Day, flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments across the province will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Sunday, September 28, 2014. Where buildings are closed for the weekend, flags may be lowered at close of business on Friday, September 26, and remain at half-mast until business resumes on Monday, September 29.

July 23, 2014
Flags at all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the riding of Simcoe-Grey are to be flown at half-mast from now until sunset on Wednesday, July 23, 2014, the day of the funeral for Mr. George McCague, MPP Dufferin-Simcoe 1975–1990.

June 23, 2014
Flags at all Ontario government buildings and establishments across the province will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Monday June 23, 2014 to mark the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism.

June 9, 2014
Flags at all Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services buildings in Ontario, will be returned to full-mast at sunset on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, the day of the funeral for Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constables Dave Ross, Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, and Douglas James Larche who were killed while on duty in Moncton, New Brunswick, on June 4, 2014.

June 6, 2014
Flags at all Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services buildings in Ontario, will be half-masted from now until sunset on the day of the funeral or memorial service (date to be confirmed) for three members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who were killed while on duty in Moncton, New Brunswick, on June 4, 2014.

May 28, 2014
Flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the Town of Petawawa and in the riding of Ottawa – Vanier will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, the day of the funeral for the late Lieutenant Colonel Daniel R. Bobbitt, Commanding Officer - 2nd Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, who died while on duty May 21, 2014.

May 13, 2014
Flags at 25 Grosvenor Street in Toronto, headquarters of the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, will be returned to full-masted at sunset on Thursday, May 15 the day of the funeral for Constable Joseph Prevett of the Thunder Bay Police Service, who died while on duty, May 7, 2014.
Further, flags at all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the City of Thunder Bay will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, May 15.

April 28, 2014
Flags at all Ontario government buildings and establishments across the province will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Monday, April 28, 2014, the National Day of Mourning for Persons Killed or Injured in the Workplace.

April 22, 2014
Flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the city of Ottawa, Ontario will be flown at half-mast from now until sunset on Friday, April 25, 2014 the day of the funeral for the late Right Honourable Herbert Eser (Herb) Gray, who passed away April 21, 2014.
Further, the flags will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the city of Windsor, Ontario on Friday, April 25, 2014 the day of the funeral.

April 14, 2014
Flags at all Ontario government buildings and establishments across the province will be flown at half-mast from now until sunset on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, the day of the State Funeral of the late Honourable James Michael (Jim) Flaherty, PC, MP and former MPP and Member of the Executive Council of Ontario, who died Thursday, April 10, 2014. Where buildings are closed for the weekend, flags should be lowered at open of business Monday, April 14.

April 10, 2014
Flags at all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the riding of Whitby-Oshawa will be flown at half-mast from now until sunset on the day of the funeral (date to be confirmed) for The Hon. Jim Flaherty, PC, former MP and Member of the Queen’s Privy Council and former MPP and Member of the Executive Council of Ontario, who died Thursday, April 10, 2014.

December 21, 2013
Flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the riding of Niagara West – Glanbrook and the City of St. Catharines are to be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, December 21, 2013, the day of the funeral for Mr. Frank Sheehan, MPP, 1995–1999.
Government of Ontario buildings that are closed for the weekend, may lower flags at close of business on Friday, December 20 and remain at half-mast until business resumes on Monday, December 23.

December 15, 2013
Flags at all Ontario government buildings and establishments across Ontario will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Sunday, December 15, 2013, the day of the funeral for His Excellency Mr. Nelson Mandela, who passed away on December 5.
Government of Ontario buildings that are closed on Sunday, December 15 may lower flags at close of business on Friday, December 13 and remain at half-mast until open of business Monday, December 16.

December 12, 2013
Flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments in Welland are to be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, December 12, 2013, the day of the family funeral for Toronto Police Constable John Zivcic.

December 6, 2013
To mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments across the province will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Friday, December 6, 2013.

December 5, 2013
Flags at all Ontario government buildings and establishments across Ontario will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on the day of the funeral (date to be confirmed) for His Excellency Mr. Nelson Mandela, who passed away on December 5, 2013.

December 5, 2013
Flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the riding of Kitchener-Conestoga are to be flown at half-mastfrom sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, December 5, 2013, the day of the funeral for Mr. Gary L. Leadston, MPP, 1990 - 1995.

December 3, 2013
Flags at all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the City of Toronto will return to full-mast at sunset on Monday, December 9, 2013, the day of the public memorial service for Constable John Zivcic, who died Monday, December 2, 2013.

December 3, 2013
Flags at 25 Grosvenor St., the headquarters of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and at all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the Regional Municipality of York will be flown at half-mast from now until sunset on Friday, December 6, 2013, the day of the funeral for Constable Michael Pegg who died of work-related injuries on Friday, November 29, 2013.

November 11, 2013
Flags at all Government of Ontario buildings and establishments will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Remembrance Day – Monday, November 11, 2013. When half-masting occurs at a place where remembrance is being observed, the half-masting can occur at 11:00 a.m. (or according to the prescribed order of service) until sunset.
Government of Ontario buildings that are closed on Monday, November 11, may lower flags at close of business on Friday, November 8 and  remain at half-mast until open of business Tuesday, November 12.

October 7, 2013
Flags at all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the City of Ottawa are to be flown at half-mast from now until sunset on Friday, October 11, 2013, day of the funeral of the late Honourable Fred J. Mifflin, who passed away October 5, 2013.

October 2, 2013
All flags in the City of Ottawa are to be returned to full-mast at sunset on Wednesday, October 2, 2013, to close the period of mourning for victims of the OC Transpo/Via Rail accident that occurred on October 18, 2013.

September 29, 2013
In observance of Police and Peace Officers' National Memorial Day, flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments across the province will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Sunday, September 29, 2013. Where buildings are closed for the weekend, flags may be lowered at close of business on Friday, September 27, and remain at half-mast until business resumes on Monday, September 30.

September 18, 2013
Flags within the City of Ottawa will remain at half-mast until further notice, to honour victims of the OC Transpo/ Via Rail accident of September 18, 2013.

June 23, 2013
Flags at all Ontario government buildings and establishments across the province will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Sunday, June 23, 2013 to mark the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism.
Government of Ontario buildings that are closed for the weekend, may lower flags at close of business on Friday, June 21 and remain at half-mast until business resumes on Monday, June 24.

June 8, 2013
Flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the City of Sudbury are to be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, June 8, 2013, the day of the funeral for Capt. Don Filliter who passed away while on duty on May 31, 2013.
Flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the Town of Kapuskasing are to be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, June 8, 2013, the day of the funeral for Paramedic Dustin Dagenais who passed away while on duty on May 31, 2013.
All flags are to be returned to full-mast at Sunset on Saturday, June 8, 2013, the day of the last funeral in Ontario for Capt. Don Filliter and Paramedics Chris Snowball and Dustin Dagenais.
The funeral for First Officer Jacques Dupuy will take place in the Province of Quebec at a later date.

June 7, 2013
Flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the City of Burlington are to be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Friday, June 7, 2013, the day of the funeral for Paramedic Chris Snowball who passed away while on duty on May 31, 2013.

June 3, 2013
Flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the city of Toronto are to be flown at half-mast from now until sunset on Tuesday, June 4, 2013, the day of the funeral for the late Honourable James Kelleher, former Senator, who passed away June 2, 2013.

May 16, 2013
Flags at all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the city of Simcoe will be flown at half-mast until sunset on Monday, May 20, the day of the National Capital Region memorial service for the late Honourable Doug Finley, who passed away May 11, 2013.
Where buildings are closed for the Victoria Day holiday, flags should be returned to full-mast at open-of-business on Tuesday, May 21, 2013.

May 11, 2013
Flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the riding of Welland, Ontario are to be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, May 11, 2013, the day of the memorial service for Mr. Peter Kormos, former MPP, who passed away March 30, 2013.

April 28, 2013
Flags at all Ontario government buildings and other establishments across the province are to be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Sunday, April 28, 2013 to honour the National Day of Mourning for Persons Killed or Injured in the Workplace.
Government of Ontario buildings that are closed for the weekend, may lower flags at close of business on Friday, April 26 and remain at half-mast until business resumes on Monday, April 29.

March 21, 2013
Flags at 25 Grosvenor St., the headquarters of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services will be flown at half-mast until sunset on Thursday, March 21, 2013 for Constable Jennifer Kovach, of the Guelph Police Services.
Flags at all Ontario government buildings and establishments in Guelph will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, March 21, 2013 for Constable Kovach.

March 1, 2013
Flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the riding of Kitchener—Waterloo, Ontario are to be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Friday, March 1, 2013, the day of the funeral for Herb Epp, former MPP, who passed away February 25, 2013.

February 27, 2013
Flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the riding of Ottawa-Vanier, Ontario are to be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, February 27th, the day of the funeral for former MPP Claudette Boyer, who passed away February 17, 2013.

February 23, 2013
Flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the riding of Beaches-East York, Ontario are to be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, February 23, 2013, the day of the memorial mass for former MPP Marion Helen Bryden, who passed away February 12, 2013.

January 31, 2013
Flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the riding of Sudbury, Ontario are to be flown at half-mast from now until sunset Saturday, February 2, 2013, day of the commemorative service for the Honourable Diane Marleau, who passed away January 30, 2013.

January 25, 2013
Flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the riding of Peterborough, Ontario are to be flown at half-mast from now until sunset Saturday, January 26, 2013, day of the funeral for the late John Turner, who passed away January 20, 2013.

December 6, 2012
To mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments across the province will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, December 6, 2012.

November 23, 2012
Flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the riding of Prince Edward--Hastings are to be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on, Friday, November 23rd, the day of the funeral for former MPP Doug Rollins, who passed away on November 19, 2012.
Flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the riding of Oshawa are to be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on, Friday, November 23rd , the day of the funeral for former MPP Clifford Pilkey, who passed away on November 17, 2012.

November 11, 2012
Flags at all Government of Ontario buildings and establishments will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Remembrance Day – Sunday, November 11, 2012. When half-masting occurs at a place where remembrance is being observed, the half-masting can occur at 11:00 a.m. (or according to the prescribed order of service) until sunset.
Government of Ontario buildings that are closed for the weekend, may lower flags at close of business on Friday, November 9th.  Where Monday, November 12th is observed as a civic holiday, flags may remain at half-mast until open of business Tuesday, November 13th.

November 6, 2012
Flags at all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the City of Toronto are to be flown at half-mast from now until sunset today, Tuesday, November 6, 2012, day of the funeral of the late Honourable Robert Kaplan, who passed away on Monday, November 5, 2012.

October 19, 2012
Flags at all Ontario government buildings and establishments across Ontario will be flown at half-mast until sunset on Friday, October 26, the day of the funeral for the Honourable Lincoln Alexander, 24th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

October 11, 2012
Flags at all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the ridings of Cornwall & Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry (formerly Charlottenburgh) are to be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, October 11, 2012 the day of the funeral of former MPP John Cleary.

September 30, 2012
In observance of Police and Peace Officers' National Memorial Day, flags on all Ontario government buildings and establishments will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Sunday, September 30, 2012. Where buildings are closed for the weekend, flags should be lowered at close of business on Friday, September 28, and remain at half-mast until business resumes on Monday, October 1.

June 23, 2012
Flags at all Ontario government buildings and establishments across the province will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Saturday June 23, 2012 to mark the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism.

April 28, 2012
Flags at all Ontario government buildings and other establishments across the province will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset Saturday, April 28, 2012 to honour the National Day of Mourning for Persons Killed or Injured in the Workplace.

March 15, 2012
Flags at all Ontario government buildings and establishments in the riding of Davenport will be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, March 15, 2012, the day of the funeral for Mr. Tony Silipo, former Member of Provincial Parliament for the riding of Davenport.

For more information on half-mastings in previous years please contact 416-325-8535
 

For more information

Office of International Relations and Protocol
1075 Bay Street, Suite 830
Toronto, ON  M5S 2B1

Telephone: 416-325-8535
Fax: 416-325-8550

Updated: October 2, 2014